Few areas of social media marketing is so widely abused and misunderstood as datadriven online marketing, or as as I and others likes to call it — social media intelligence.

In no particular order, allow me to point out some of the most common misconceptions:

1. Crap In = Crap Out

I don’t care who you are or what you’re trying to do. You need clean data sets or in the words of Metallica:

Then nothing else matters.

2. When Not To Buy Horses

If you we’re looking at the data in 1905, chances are you’ll notice how horses were in great demand.

Maybe investing in horses would be the smartest move?

Well, not if you would ask Henry Ford who put the T-Ford into mass production short thereafter.

It wasn’t the need for horses that increased — it was the need for personal transportation which allowed for disruptive technologies to emerge.

3. Causality Is A Bitch

Correlations are cool. They can be found in strange but awesome places.

But never make the mistake of mistaking correlation for causation.

4. What Gets Measured Gets Done—So Why Are You Measuring Something You Don’t Want Done?

Some say you shouldn’t measure the number of fans or the value of a fan.

Some say you should.

The truth is of course very pragmatic; if you are setting up goals for fan acquisition, this is what will happen, no matter if it’s the right or the wrong choice. Maybe loyalty retention was the right strategy this time around instead?

Measure what you want to get done, not what you easily can measure.

5. Not Investing Like A Formula 1 Team

Anyone keeping the track of the Formula 1 racing circuit knows that a successful racing team can’t just invest in the car.

If you want to win, you need to invest in strategy, training and a top notch driver as well.

Having a fast car is pointless if you can’t handle it. Same goes for online monitoring tools.

6. Rome Wasn’t Built In A Day

Whether the measurement and the analysis is quantitative or qualitative, there’s no perfect measuring method, no perfect monitoring method.

What you can hope for is for it to be indicative so that you can decide and adapt efficiently.

So, the first time you use a specific method, the results tend to be weak. But the second time, well, then you at least have a valid comparison. This is why social media intelligence is a long-term value add.

7. If You Pay Peanuts, You Get Monkeys

So, you have a couple of interns monitoring your software tools?

Well, I know analysts who can do more for your business with free online tools than what mere mortals could do with the most expensive tools out there. Social analytics is highly creative and out-of-the-box kind of work.